From the bestselling author of Code Name Hélène comes a gripping historical mystery inspired by the life and diary of Martha Ballard, a renowned 18th-century midwife who investigates a shocking murder that unhinges her small community.
Maine, 1789: When a man is found entombed in the frozen Kennebec River, Martha Ballard is summoned to examine the body and determine cause of death.
As the local midwife and healer, Martha is good at keeping secrets. Her diary is a record of every birth, death and debacle that unfolds in the town of Hallowell. In that diary she has also documented the details of an alleged rape committed by one of the town’s most esteemed gentlemen – the same man who has now been found dead in the ice.
While certain townspeople are eager to put both matters to rest, Martha suspects that the two crimes are linked, and that there is more to both cases than meets the eye. Over the course of one long, hard winter, whispers and prejudices mount, and Martha’s diary lands at the centre of the scandal, threatening to tear both her family and her community apart.
The Frozen River is a thrilling, tense and tender story of an unsung heroine who refused to accept anything less than justice on behalf of those no one else would protect.
'The Frozen River is so vivid, so textured and multi-layered that I felt I'd opened a door and entered post-revolutionary America ... This novel was unlike anything I'd read before, and it left me awe-struck.' Lauren Belfer, New York Times bestselling author
ARIEL LAWHON is a critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction. Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been LibraryReads, Indie Next, Costco, and Book of the Month Club selections. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and four sons. Ariel splits her time between the grocery store and the baseball field.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia (November 1, 2023)
Length: 448 pages
Raves and Reviews
‘What could be better than a well-researched historical murder mystery, with a strong and feisty woman at its centre … Remarkable.’
– New Zealand Women’s Weekly
‘Ariel Lawhon always knows how to tell a complex, fascinating historical tale about real women from history who had no idea they were heroes, but whose lives were extraordinary. Love, birth, murder, family and women’s daily travails all come together seamlessly in a book whose characters you won't want to part from after the final chapter.’
– Natasha Lester, bestselling author of The Disappearance of Astrid Bricard
‘Lawhon creates a stirring portrait of a real-life heroine … A vivid, exciting page-turner from one of our most interesting authors of historical fiction.’
– Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
‘Lawhon (Code Name Hélène) draws from the diary of an 18th-century midwife for the stirring story of one woman’s quest for justice … Lawhon combines modern prose with the immediacy of her source material, making for an accessible and textured narrative. This accomplished historical powerfully speaks to centuries-old inequities that remain in the present day.’
– Publishers Weekly
‘With exquisite prose and gripping immediacy, Ariel Lawhon recreates the extraordinary story of Martha Ballard, a real-life yet little-known midwife and healer in Maine who kept a diary in the years after the American Revolution. The Frozen River is so vivid, so textured and multi-layered that I felt I’d opened a door and entered post-revolutionary America, walking beside Lawhon’s compelling characters in a time and place riven by hardship, disease, and misogyny, but also intense love and searing natural beauty. This novel was unlike anything I’d read before, and it left me awe-struck.’
– Lauren Belfer, New York Times bestselling author of Ashton Hall